AT&T will be stocking its stores with the new Amazon Kindle Touch 3G next week so you may want to pass on that generic brand e-reader on Black Friday, no matter how tempting its doorbuster price may be.
For $149, the 6" Kindle Touch 3G with Special Offers includes free global 3G service in over 100 countries and territories, so you'll be able to shop in the Kindle Store and Amazon Cloud no matter where you are. (The ad-free version costs $189.) As long as you're just downloading Kindle content, AT&T won't charge you monthly fees or ask you to sign a contract for the service. It also has built-in Wi-Fi so you can avoid surprise charges for say checking your emails by waiting until you're in a Wi-Fi zone. (Check out Amazon's Wireless Connectivity policy for details.)
Hardware-wise, the Kindle Touch 3G forgoes a Qwerty keyboard for a 6" touchscreen display that uses Pearl e-ink (600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi). With Wi-Fi turned off, the Kindle Touch 3G should last two months between charges according to Amazon, thanks to its energy efficient display. Although its on-board storage is on the skimpy side with just 4GB, you will also get free storage in the Amazon cloud for Amazon content, which is ideal for cross-platform consumption (from PC to phone to tablet etc.). The e-reader also has an audio jack and a micro-USB port but lacks a micro-SD slot that the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch offers (though the Nook only has 2GB of internal storage).
With the Nook Simple Touch e-reader now retailing for just $99, is the Kindle Touch 3G worth the extra $50? I think it comes down to your priorities. Is having access to to the largest e-book store from anywhere (using 3G and Wi-Fi) most important? If so, then the Kindle Touch 3G makes the most sense. Perhaps it's the security of being able to walk into a local B&N store to get one-on-one help with your device, or the flexibility to access your ePUB files that tip the scale in the Nook's favor for you. In any case, the stage is set for an e-reader showdown this holiday season -- which device do you think will be top dog?